Top ways to stay cool safely this summer
Top tips for staying cool
As the warm weather continues, we know you may be tempted to head to water to cool down.
Around half of accidental drownings in England took place in lakes, rivers, ponds, streams, canals and harbours, so we’re offering some advice for other, safer ways, to stay cool during the heatwave.
There are many ways you can stay cool that do not involve swimming.
Visit the NHS website to find out how to look after your health in hot weather.
Keeping cool at home
Drink plenty of cold water and stay hydrated.
Take a cold shower, run your wrists under a cold tap, or put your feet in a bucket of cold water.
Open your windows early in the morning before the sun is beating down on them, and then again at night. Keep windows shut in the heat of the day (and keep the blinds/curtains drawn) to help keep the house cool.
Place frozen bottles of water (a safe distance away) in front of a fan to blast cold air your way.
If you have young children who are finding it hard to stay cool, you can put a cuddly toy in the freezer.
Keeping cool outdoors
- Stay out of the sun in the peak of the day (12-3pm) or choose to spend time indoors, in the shade or in air-conditioned places. Supermarkets are good places in hot weather as the refrigerated units keep the place cool!
- If you’re near water and you can’t resist, only paddle in a safe spot where you can see the bottom.
- If you’ve been drinking alcohol, choose a route home away from water. More people drown when they weren’t planning on being in the water compared to swimming.
How to swim outdoors safely
- Swim at a known swimming spot. Never take the risk to swim in a place you don’t know. Lakes, rivers, quarries, reservoirs, canals and rivers can be unsafe and often have hidden dangers under the surface of the water. Or choose a lifeguarded beach and swim between the flags.
- Never take a dip, go paddle boarding, or swim alone.
- If you do swim, get into the water slowly to get used to the temperature. This reduces the risk of cold water shock.
- Take a mobile phone with you (in a waterproof pouch) so you can call for help if you need to. If you don’t have mobile reception, tell someone where you are going.
- Plan where you are going and download a location-based app such as what3words to help emergency services to find you.
What to do if someone falls in the water
- If someone falls in, don’t go in after them. You could be the next casualty.
- Call 999 immediately. If you’re near the coast, ask for a coastguard. If you are inland, ask for the fire, and ambulance services.
- Tell the emergency services where you are. You can use your phone, but if you don’t have one or you can’t access location tools then try looking for landmarks or signs that could help the services find you. We recommend downloading the What3Words (or similar location-based app) to help with pinpointing your location.
- If the person can swim, shout “swim to me!” The water can be disorientating, but this could help give them a focus. Keep instructions loud, clear and consistent.
- Look for lifebelts or throw bags you can use.
- If there isn’t any lifesaving equipment, look for other things that could help them stay afloat, such as a ball. You can even use a scarf or long stick to help pull someone in. If you do this, lie on the ground so your entire body is safely on the edge and reach out with your arm. Don’t stand up or lean over the water, as you might get pulled in.
What to do if you fall into water
- Take a minute. The initial effects of cold water pass in less than a minute so don’t try to swim straight away.
- Float to live. Lie on your back and spread out your arms and legs, tilt your head up and out of the water and shout for help. If you can, try and raise your arm to make people aware.
- Keep calm then call for help or swim for safety if you’re able.